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The Great Dictator Clippings 63/369

Daily Variety, New York, December 31, 1939.

Film Star at Fairbanks Funeral


Among pioneers of the motion picture world who had

known Douglas Fairbanks for years and gathered for his

funeral was Charlie Chaplin, one of the pallbearers.

He is seen here arriving at Forest Lawn Memorial park

for the final rites.

(...) AP Photo, Spokesman-Review, Spokane,

Washington, Dec. 17, 1939.

      AP, Associated Press.

& Charlie so completely broken up about Douglas

Fairbanks, he‘s dining quietly at the studio every night. Jack

and Venita Oakie were his guests last night.

(...) SNAPSHOTS OF HOLLYWOOD collected at random,

By Louella O. Parsons, Motion Picture Editor

Int‘l News Service, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco,

California, Dec. 16, 1939

& Ballyhoo is the life-blood of the movie-industry – always

has been, always must be. So witness the strange

spectacle of studios struggling to keep news of current epics

from press and public. Newspaper correspondents

are barred from the sets of Charlie Chaplin‘s comedy, „The

Dictator,“ and Twentieth Century-Fox‘s „The Grapes

of Wrath,“ and, in addition, all actors and workers engaged

upon them have been obliged to take pledges

of secrecy.

      * * *

      Charlie seldom opens his gates even when ha has no

picture in production, and, now that he‘s projecting

a burlesque on the Hitler regime, the bars have gone up

higher than ever. Even his office force is banned

from actual shooting stages. Charlie is proud of his story

and is taking every possible precaution to prevent

prerelease leaks.

      * * *

      About 35 actors, including extras, have worked for

Chaplin so far, and all are warned daily that

discussion of the picture outside the lot is tantamount

to dismissal. In an unguarded moment, a bit girl

dropped an inkling of what went on at the Chaplin plant.

She was fired next day. Hollywood‘s never-failing

grapevine carried her treachery right back to Charlie.

The comedian has shot about 100 still pictures

on the comedy, including portraits of himself in the

dictator costume, but, aside from the single

cameraman who snapped them, Charlie is the only one

to view them. They are locked in his private vault.

(...) HOLLYWOOD Behind the Camera By Harold HEFFERNAN,

Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, Dec. 29, 1939.

      Lead. Studios struggle to keep films secret . . . Discussion

      sometimes carries penalty of dismissal on Chaplin set


& Vince Barnett, the talk of Hollywood several years ago

with his famous „ribbing“ antics, has been signed for the role

of a screwball inventor in Chaplin‘s „The Dictator.“

(...) Louella O. Parsons, Courier-Post, Camden, New Jersey,

Jan. 1, 1940

„Displayed an unusually keen sense of humor

Editorial content. „The Great Dictator

      Chaplin makes no bones about his utter contempt

for dictators like Hitler and Mussolini in his production of The

Great Dictator. He takes time out to make fun about it,

but the preachment is strong, notably in the six-minute speech

at the finish.


      Chaplin speaks throughout the film, but whenever

convenient depends as much as he can on pantomime. His

panto has always talked plenty.

      Chaplin plays a dual role, that of a meek little Jewish

barber in Tomania and the great little dictator of that

country, billed as Hynkel. It‘s when he is playing the dictator

that the comedian‘s voice raises the value of the

comedy content of the picture to great heights. He does

various bits as a Hitler spouting at the mouth in which

he engages in a lot of double talk in what amounts amounts

to a pig-Latin version of the German tongue, with

grunts thrown in here and there, plus a classical ,Democracy

shtoonk‘. On various occasions as Hitler he also

speaks English, in these instances he talks with force,

as contrasted by the mousey, half-scared way

he speaks as the poor barber.

      Somewhat of a shock is the complete transformation

of the barber when he delivers the speech at the finish, a fiery

and impassioned plea for freedom and democracy.

It is a peculiar and somewhat disappointing climax with the

picture ending on a serious rather than a comical note. 

      The vast majority of the action is built around Hynkel and

the Jewish barber. Not so much is devoted to the

dictator who is Napaloni (Mussolini). Jack Oakie plays the

satirized Duce to the hilt and every minute with him

is socko.

      In making up the billing, Chaplin has displayed an unusually

keen sense of humor. While Hynkel is the dictator

of Tomania, Napaloni is the ruler of Bacteria. Tomasia

higher-ups include Garbitsch (Goebels) and Herring

(Goering). These are played effectively by Henry Daniell and

Billy Gilbert.“


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